(Editor's note: University of Providence athletics press release)
GULF SHORES, Ala.— Tatiana Martinez became an NAIA All-American in the discus at the NAIA National Outdoor Championships on Friday. Her mark of 45.15 meters was good for a third place finish at the event, which was held in Gulf Shores, Ala.
Martinez, a freshman from Las Vegas, Nev. recorded the mark on her first attempt of the day, breaking her own school record of 43.66 meters that she set earlier in the season. Madison Sutton (Benedictine, Kan.) won the event with a mark of 48.29 meters.
"When they read the mark of 45.15 I couldn't believe it," throws coach Alan Cress said. "Especially for a freshman that's unbelievable. It was great for her. She hurt her ankle during finals week and didn't even throw in our final meet before Nationals in Missoula. She came back with a great mindset. She just relaxed and did what she was capable of doing. She just went out and made a big throw. She's pretty stoked."
By becoming an All-American, Martinez became the first female All-American for the Argo track and field program, and the 11th All-American overall. She has also tied for the highest national finish in program history, tying Tanner Boone who finished third in the marathon at the 2017 NAIA National Outdoor Championships.
"It is a huge accomplishment," Cress said. "This is great for the program. Tatiana had a huge day. It was just amazing. She's only a freshman so it's exciting to see what we she can accomplish in her career if she comes with that same mindset."
Martinez was one of four Argos to compete at the three-day event. On Wednesday, Jillian Sanchez finished 14th in the hammer throw (out of 33 student-athletes) with a mark of 49.19 meters. Teammate Allyson Conner finished 22nd with a throw of 46.59 meters.
After a weather delay on Wednesday that pushed the women's javelin throw to Thursday, McKenzie Clark finished 21st with a throw of 35.05 meters. She had hit a mark of 45 meters during her first throw of the day, which would have been good for a third-place finish, but was called for leaving the runway area before the javelin landed.
"I was watching the javelin thinking that she had just made an incredible throw," Cress said. "Four or five coaches told us that it wasn't the correct call. Unfortunately we couldn't appeal it. It's a judgement call by the official so it is what it is. McKenzie is capable of being an All-American. Jillian is capable of being an All-American. We were just a couple of meters short."
The event marks the end of the season for the Argo track and field team, who finished third in the Frontier Conference on both the men's and the women's side. The coaching staff is proud of what the team accomplished over the year and believes they have some incredible building blocks for next season.
"We had a great season," Cress said. "We had people stepping up all over the place. All the women on the throws side are returning and we got some men added for the upcoming season. We're going to come back even better next season. I'm really excited for the future. The program is heading in a really strong direction. I think we're going to be able to compete at both the conference and national level."